Dr. Benjamin here! Wow, what a fun Halloween treat to be invited on Channel 8’s The Morning Break with Katey Rosketko! We had a great time discussing our mutual love of Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups and the crucial connection between oral health and overall well-being.
Just in case you missed it (or want a refresher), I thought I’d recap below!
Let’s start with what everyone’s thinking about this season: candy. We like to think of the effects of candy in different categories: better, bad and worst. There’s no real “good” category here because we want to stay alert to the high carbohydrates, acid and sugar with no nutritional benefit.
Foods high in carbohydrates are tough on teeth because the digestion of carbs begins in the mouth. This creates an acidic environment in your mouth and, sparing the dirty biochemical details, leaves room for cavities and tooth decay.
Nobody wants tooth decay, so I’m going to teach you a trick I use when indulging in candy and snacks (probably more than I should!)
It’s all about FREQUENCY. The body and mouth are very adaptable; they’re meant to eat and drink and handle whatever you throw at them. Our teeth are stronger than we give them credit for- when you eat something and digest those carbs in the mouth, your body gets to work quickly to release saliva to aid in digestion and neutralize this acidic environment.
So, if you are going to eat candy, give your body a break in between. Indulge briefly, then let your mouth recover. Let some water and saliva buffer and neutralize your mouth to protect your teeth. This is why you can get away with having a dessert, but not snacking on chocolate chips all day, every day. Your mouth never recovers with frequent snacks. It is a constant barrage of a low pH, highly acidic environment. Even the strongest teeth don’t stand a chance.
Back to the better, bad and worst:
Worst: foods/candy that sticks around the longest. Taffy, sugar daddy, caramel, etc. These glob onto your teeth, and take forever to disappear. Even with water rinses and saliva flow, they hang in there.
Bad: high sugar, but crunchy. We fix broken teeth, so we see this. Tic-tacs! Cold Snickers bars. Things like this that promote chewing on crunchy sweets. Risk of hurting your jaw or physically breaking teeth.
Better: things like Hersey kisses, M&Ms, Reese’s. You eat. Enjoy. And they are easiest to clean off your teeth.
Enjoy! I certainly do. But pay attention to what kind of textures you have, and how often.
Or, just enjoy carrots, apples and nuts instead of your Halloween treats….. just kidding!
And, check out my live interview here: https://www.kolotv.com/2023/10/02/dr-benjamin-brooks-shares-importance-taking-care-teeth-gums-your-overall-health/!
Katey, thank you again!